Yawn!! when you feel like it..

Posted by Tandarin Nike Monday, December 21, 2009 12:35 PM
I like to yawn. ... ... ...

When else do you really get to stretch your jaw muscles and open your mouth as wide as it goes, then inhale, maybe closing your eyes, maybe arching your back, and extending your arms, and even adding sound effects--all for a really satisfying six seconds of relief from boredom?

Why do we automatically cover our mouths when we yawn, at least when we yawn in public? Are we just trying to show the world that we’re not bored when we are bored? Yawning has been given an undeserved bad rap.

We are not supposed to yawn, especially at a meeting, lecture, date, or a performance because it reveals this: “I want to do something else.” I think that yawning is actually a polite way to signal to someone to stop boring you! The boring person is the rude one. Yawning is also, as most people have noticed, contagious.

A yawning “epidemic” can easily spread across a crowded lecture hall as fast as Instant Messaging!

According to a Hindu belief but also attributed to the “Old Wives” (those old wives with their many tales), when a person yawns, it gives his soul an opportunity to escape and go wandering. So you should cover your mouth when you yawn, they say.

And if you observe someone yawning, then, without delay, snap your fingers, and the sound of the snapping will stop the soul from its getaway, and it won’t want to leave the body. (This is similar to when a person sneezes and those around him wish him good health or “God bless you” because they think that during sneezing the soul flies out.)

In the Chicago Sun-Times, April 21, 2005: a juror was cited for contempt and fined $1,000 by a judge for yawning loudly while awaiting questioning in an attempted murder trial. The fine later was reduced to $100. The yawn came after the man had been sitting in a courtroom for two days as part of jury selection.

‘You yawned rather audibly there. As a matter of fact, it was to the point that it was contemptuous,’ Superior Court Judge Craig Veals said April 1.

‘I'm sorry, but I'm really bored,’ the juror said.”
Aside from boredom, tiredness, and “everyone’s doing it,” what really makes a person yawn? Oxygen debt was a popular theory that has been essentially disproven.

An alternative and interesting hypothesis, advanced by Andrew McKenzie of the University of Pretoria in the South African Journal of Science (1994) theorizes that yawning may air out the tonsils, as an attempt to keep them from getting infected; yawning may be the tonsil’s very own cleaning mechanism, similar to the reflexes used to clear other areas such as the nose (sneezing), lungs (coughing), eyes (blinking), and mouth (swallowing).

But what about the specific timing of our yawns? Can we now say “I’m not bored; I’m clearing out the germs from my tonsils.”

An individual can see someone yawn, and then he mimics the yawn without thinking much about it. Researchers recently found that yawning isn’t only contagious among humans but also among chimpanzees.
Why? Studies are inconclusive. But yawning does seem to be a basic, primitive reflex that we share with other species; dogs and other mammals do it, infants and even human fetuses do it, birds and reptiles and fish do it. The best idea is that it’s simply like any other stretching but of the face. It feels good.
Yawning flexes the joints and prepares you for a change in activity, and it even temporarily increases the heart rate and blood pressure and allows you to take a deep breath and rouse from your stupor. Yawning is your body’s way of suggesting that you change activities.
Well, I’d better stop going on and on before I get boring and make you yawn.

1 Response to "Yawn!! when you feel like it.."

  1. Joanna Key Says:

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